Breaking News
February 20, 2019 - Self-reported sleep duration is a useful tool to measure sleep in children, study suggests
February 20, 2019 - T-cells play key role in how the body fights follicular lymphoma
February 20, 2019 - Study shows how 3D organization of genetic material helps perpetuate the species
February 20, 2019 - Researchers engineer stem cell with ‘suicide genes’ to induce cell death in all but beta cells
February 20, 2019 - Health Tip: Get Your Child to School on Time
February 20, 2019 - Shortcut strategy for screening compounds with clinical potentials for drug development
February 20, 2019 - Common acid reflux drugs tied to elevated risk for kidney disease
February 20, 2019 - Microbiome could be culprit when good drugs do harm
February 20, 2019 - Prenatal exposure to forest fires causes stunted growth in children
February 20, 2019 - Gene therapy restores hearing in mice with congenital genetic deafness
February 20, 2019 - First molecular test predicts treatment response for kidney cancer
February 20, 2019 - New method for improved visualization of single-cell RNA- sequencing data
February 20, 2019 - Researchers capture altered brain activity patterns of Parkinson’s in mice
February 20, 2019 - A possible blood test for detecting Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms show
February 20, 2019 - Primary care physicians associated with longevity, new research finds
February 19, 2019 - New study identifies many key lessons to establish sanctioned safe consumption sites
February 19, 2019 - Single CRISPR treatment can safely and stably correct genetic disease
February 19, 2019 - Multinational initiative to study familial primary distal renal tubular acidosis
February 19, 2019 - Breakthrough study highlights the promise of cell therapies for muscular dystrophy
February 19, 2019 - Subsymptom Threshold Exercise Speeds Concussion Recovery
February 19, 2019 - Midline venous catheters – infants: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
February 19, 2019 - Searching for side effects
February 19, 2019 - Humanity is all right, probably, although human extinction remains quite possible, researcher says
February 19, 2019 - Having Anesthesia Once as a Baby Does Not Cause Learning Disabilities, New Research Shows
February 19, 2019 - Anti-cancer immunotherapy could be used to fight HIV
February 19, 2019 - Customized Micropatterning for Improved Physiological Relevance
February 19, 2019 - Unique gene therapy approach paves new way to tackle rare, inherited diseases
February 19, 2019 - Activating gene that helps excite neurons reverses depression in male mice
February 19, 2019 - Science Puzzling Out Differences in Gut Bacteria Around the World
February 19, 2019 - Cells that destroy the intestine
February 19, 2019 - On recovery, vulnerability and ritual: An exhibit in white
February 19, 2019 - Scientific Duo Gets Back To Basics To Make Childbirth Safer
February 19, 2019 - COPD patients need more support when understanding new chest symptoms
February 19, 2019 - Using light-based method for production of pharmaceutical molecules
February 19, 2019 - Scientists find link between inflammation and cancer
February 19, 2019 - The High Cost Of Sex: Insurers Often Don’t Pay For Drugs To Treat Problems
February 19, 2019 - Hearing impairment associated with accelerated cognitive decline with age
February 19, 2019 - Researchers identify multiple genetic variants associated with body fat distribution
February 19, 2019 - Influenza and common cold are completely different diseases, study shows
February 19, 2019 - Scientists untangle how microbes manufacture key antibiotic compound
February 19, 2019 - Greater primary care physician supply associated with longer life spans
February 19, 2019 - HIV-1 protein suppresses immune response more broadly than thought
February 19, 2019 - Brain imaging indicates potential success of drug therapy in depressive patients
February 19, 2019 - For 2020 Dem Hopefuls, ‘Medicare-For-All’ Is A Defining Issue, However They Define It
February 19, 2019 - Specialized lung cells appear in the developing fetus much earlier than previously thought
February 19, 2019 - KU professor discusses promise of brain-computer interface to aid, restore communication
February 19, 2019 - Highly effective solution for detecting onset of aggregation in nanoparticles
February 19, 2019 - Early marker of cardiac damage triggered by cancer treatment identified
February 19, 2019 - Antidepressant drug could save people from deadly sepsis, research suggests
February 19, 2019 - CRISPR technology creates pluripotent stem cells that are ‘invisible’ to the immune system
February 19, 2019 - New study establishes how stress favors breast cancer growth and spread
February 19, 2019 - Midlife Systemic Inflammation Linked to Later Cognitive Decline
February 19, 2019 - Therapy derived from parasitic worms downregulates proinflammatory pathways
February 19, 2019 - Antimicrobial reusable coffee cups are less likely to become contaminated with bacteria, study shows
February 19, 2019 - Harnessing the evolutionary games played by cancer cells to advance therapies
February 19, 2019 - AHA News: Heart Transplant Survivor Gets Wedding Proposal at Finish Line
February 19, 2019 - HIV hidden in patients’ cells can now be accurately measured
February 19, 2019 - Research finds reasons for sudden cardiac death in patients with stable ischemic disease
February 19, 2019 - New protocol could help physicians to rule out bacterial infections in infants
February 19, 2019 - Women experiencing miscarriage should be offered treatment choices
February 19, 2019 - New protocol can help identify febrile infants at low risk for serious bacterial infections
February 19, 2019 - Innovative way to block HIV runs into a roadblock
February 19, 2019 - Springer Nature with BCRF conduct pilot project to make their research datasets more accessible
February 19, 2019 - Study finds neuromelanin-sensitive MRI as potential biomarker for psychosis
February 19, 2019 - Improvements in cardiovascular care for elderly save billions in health care costs
February 19, 2019 - Chilean food regulations are changing food perceptions and purchasing habits, study suggests
February 19, 2019 - Index endoscopy results are crucial for assessment of Barrett’s patients
February 18, 2019 - Breast cancer screening age should be lowered to 35
February 18, 2019 - Brain synchronization depends on the language of communication
February 18, 2019 - Drug Company Payments Over Time May Influence Rx Practices
February 18, 2019 - Despite socioeconomic gains, black-white ‘health gap’ remains
February 18, 2019 - Researchers report progress in the treatment of aggressive brain tumors
February 18, 2019 - Scientists discover trigger that turns strep infections into devastating disease
February 18, 2019 - Scanning children’s teeth may predict future mental health issues
February 18, 2019 - Health Highlights: Feb. 14, 2019
February 18, 2019 - New knowledge could help predict and prevent depression
February 18, 2019 - More primary care physicians leads to longer life spans | News Center
February 18, 2019 - Study examines link between supply of primary care physicians and life expectancy
February 18, 2019 - New study assesses screen time in young children
February 18, 2019 - Patented IU discovery to treat ARDS has been optioned to Theratome Bio
Toxic metal pollution linked with development of autism spectrum disorder

Toxic metal pollution linked with development of autism spectrum disorder

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Environmental metal and metalloid pollution (lead, mercury, aluminum, and arsenic) may induce autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) Credit: Vyacheslav Sheludkov

Russian researchers, together with their foreign colleagues, have demonstrated that environmental metal and metalloid pollution (lead, mercury, aluminum, and arsenic) may induce autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), and have considered possible mechanisms of exposure to these substances. The study may be useful for the prevention and therapy of ASD. The article is published in the journal Environmental Research.

Autism spectrum disorder is a group of disruptive neurodevelopmental disorders that cause problems in communication, socialization, and limited interests. They appear usually at the age of three years. Over the past 20 years, the prevalence of ASD has increased by 30 percent globally, although scientists have not yet reached a consensus on the causes and mechanisms of the disorder. Genetic mutations correspond to approximately 7 percent of cases of ASD. Such mutations can occur under the influence of toxic metals in the first months of prenatal and postnatal life, when the nervous system is especially sensitive to toxic environmental pollutants. This hypothesis is confirmed by recent studies. For example, scientists from RUDN University with their colleagues from Saudi Arabia and Norway have observed increased lead and mercury levels in association with selenium deficiency in erythrocytes of children with ASD. A large Korean study including 458 mother-child pairs showed a clear link between exposure to mercury in early childhood and autistic behavior at the age of five.

But how, exactly, can toxic metals cause ASD? Researchers of the RUDN University and Yaroslavl State University, under the guidance of Prof. Anatoly Skalny, believe that the main mechanism underlying the onset of ASD is inflammation in brain nervous tissue. The latter is related to increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines—signaling peptide molecules. In addition, arsenic disrupts the metabolism of neurotransmitters and promotes epigenetic changes. Finally, aluminum can cause dysfunction of glia – non-neuronal auxiliary cells of the nervous tissue, which play an important role in the functioning of the nervous system. These assumptions are confirmed by the results of the authors’ studies, which demonstrated a tight association of the level of toxic elements in the blood serum of children with ADS and neuroinflammatory markers.

Researchers from the RUDN University considered the link between exposure to three toxic metals (lead, mercury, aluminum) and arsenic with the emergence of ASD in children. They proposed three main processes that occur under the influence of toxic metals and contribute to the development of autism: neuroiflammation, apoptosis (programmed cell death), and excitotoxicity. In addition, the scientists proposed preventive measures and approaches that reduce the risk of ASD.

“Unfortunately, the contemporary methods of metal detoxification do not allow to achieve ASD remission, especially since their effectiveness in ASD is not confirmed from the positions of evidence-based medicine,” noted the co-author of the article Alexey A. Tinkov, M.D., Ph.D., senior lecturer of the Department of Medical Elementology of the RUDN University. In the case of acute intoxication, the use chelating agents (DMPS, DMSA, CaEDTA and BAL) is recommended, but in the case of ASD, chronic metal overload usually takes place. Moreover, chelators also have a significant number of side effects. In the case of chronic intoxication, toxic metals can be successfully eliminated from the body by functional foods. A number of phytochemicals (polyphenols, etc.) decrease lead toxicity. In turn, laboratory data demonstrate that zinc and selenium compounds significantly reduce toxicity of lead, arsenic and cadmium.

Researchers recommend the use of a comprehensive approach for the correction of metal overload in ADSs. Particularly, in addition to elimination of metals exposure, it is proposed to use antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as supplements containing heavy metal antagonists (selenium, zinc), and adhere to a diet.


Explore further:
Exposure to arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium linked to increased risk of heart disease

More information:
Geir Bjørklund et al. Toxic metal(loid)-based pollutants and their possible role in autism spectrum disorder, Environmental Research (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.05.020

Journal reference:
Environmental Research

Provided by:
RUDN University

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles